“Why Am I Doing This?”

No-one at RPS is a great racing game aficionado. Is this because we’re all impossibly geeky men obsessed with science fiction worlds and the devoted worship of Horace the Endless Bear? Or is it because racing, once one of gaming’s main pillars, is growing ever more niche? Certainly, it has spent some years standing still, polarising into the opposing camps of simulation and mod-culture arcadey things, and in both cases avoiding the sense of whizzbang newness necessary to excite a mass audience. So will it go the way of the flight sim, making do with a small but impossibly devoted audience?

Clearly not. But it does have to change. And so Edge have rounded up some of the genre’s most luminescent luminaries – men behind the likes of Project Gotham, Colin McRae, Motorstorm and Sega Racing – to discuss racing’s future. It’s an amazingly frank chat, shining a light on some deep-running problems with the form.

“I kind of fear for racing games in the future,” says Bizarre Creation’s Gareth Wilson. “Look at last year – there’s been so many quality games that aren’t racing games. Even me, as a racing game lover, there’s a lot of good games I’d buy ahead of pretty much any of them, even though there’s been quality there, too. I do worry that it might become an extremely niche area unless we work out a way of making it become more massmarket.”

One way of doing so may be to give purpose outside of a high score or a digitised trophy, something for those who feel less of a competitive itch to attach to. The TOCA Race Driver series briefly attempted to add a narrative to its campaign, but all it amounted to was cheesy cutscenes.

“‘Why am I doing this?’ comes up in design meetings a lot, and it’s a real hard one”, says another Bizarrian, Gerard Talbot. “Most people don’t like racing games”, he adds, which must be an unhappy thing for a man that specialises in them to realise. Still, it rather explains Bizarre doing The Club – and much as it’s not ultimately to our tastes here, we certainly respect its boldness in introducing the values of a racing game into a more populist genre.

Test Drive Unlimited is discussed at length, which excites me. I spent a lot of last year with this somewhat overlooked, but mostly glorious open-world demi-MMO, its emphasis on driving, the enjoyment of an expensive vehicle, rather than formulaic track racing, proving to be exactly what I wanted from a car game. Fantasy fulfilment, not mechanical competition. With Burnout Paradise currently toying with similar free-roaming ideas (albeit with a stronger emphasis on racing) on consoles, there would seem a clear signal as to where car games need to go. “It’s certainly something that I’d like to push with our future racing games”, says Colin McRae DiRT’s Gavin Raeburn.

Bizzare throw tantalising hints of what may be to come: “The focus for our new title for Activision is: how can we make a really, really big-selling racing game, something that people will buy over Call Of Duty 5?”

Anyway, enough annotated quotation from me. Go read the thing. There’s a ton of ace talk about how to satisfy both the suspension fetishists and the GTA crowd, why the Need For Speed series is flagging and what innovations the genre is yet to see. Again, it’s a surprisingly honest discussion, and it’s genuinely gotten me very excited about the places driving games might be about to go to.

Oh, okay – one more quote. “We need to take more risks,” says Evolution Studio’s Mike Kershaw. Man!


  1. Flint says:

    The problem with racing games is that none of them are Rollcage. Except Rollcage.

  2. UncleLou says:

    Bizzare throw tantalising hints of what may be to come: “The focus for our new title for Activision is: how can we make a really, really big-selling racing game, something that people will buy over Call Of Duty 5?”

    Releasing it also for the one platform that lacks exactly that sub-genre might help.

    I never understood why noone tried to make something like PGR or GT for the PC. We get the good, but somewhat sterile Simbin games and similar suff (rfactor, Live for Speed), and the EA fare and its clones.

    I bought a PS2 basically to be able to play GT3 at the time.

  3. Clicky says:

    And Rollcage 2.

    Actually, I think that one thing that they should do that would increase sales is to make the games playable with KEYBOARDS. Not many casual players want to purchase a racing wheel that costs multiple monies just to play a game and after that take up space in their closets.

  4. Flint says:

    Nah, Rollcage 2 wasn’t like Rollcage. The competing opponents were all dull soulless cars instead of the named drivers of Rollcage who seemed to have their own distinct personalities (that red car, Rita or something, was a total bitch), and even that would have been tolerable if it weren’t for the fact that the 2-player racing lacked all the computer controlled cars (unlike in the first game): the stages in the game just weren’t that fun with only you and your friend…

  5. OldmanTick says:

    Would you consider Interstate 76 a racing game? I guess not but that’s the kind of game I like, the sub-genre auto comabt. looking forward to the upcoming titles

  6. Essell says:

    Interesting discussion, but here’s a rule of thumb that appears to ring true in this case: whenever an article’s title is a speculative question, the answer is “no”.

    “Niche” doesn’t mean “doesn’t sell as well as CoD or GTA”, and racing in general isn’t going to be niche any time soon. I think the fact that there are lots of other interesting, top-selling games out these days is much more a sign of the overall scope and diversity of videogames growing exponentially (which is obviously a good thing), as opposed to racing fans toddling off to shoot things or level up instead.

    To me it seems notable that the only developers interviewed were UK ones, considering that – except for Wipeout, which went down the pan post-PS1 – all the genre’s real innovation of recent years has come from abroad.

  7. Del Boy says:

    It can’t be that hard to make a decent car game.

    Just take any copy of Gran Turismo you can find then make it as far removed from that as you can humanely muster.

  8. cHeal says:

    Test Drive unlimited is indeed a superb game. It was however an atrocious port from console to PC.

    As for sims I play GTR 2 and RBR, and on occasion GPL.

    I think that the racing genre does have to be careful not to fall into the trap which the flight sims did. There needs to be some innovation and genre mixing with different racing games offering different challenges and rewards. The purely sim market still needs to remain, but it will only do so if there is the less niche, “casual” gamer market there to provide it with new customers. That is I’d imagine why the flight sim has died because there aren’t enough “just for fun” flight games out there to get people into the genre.

  9. Jim Rossignol says:

    I’ve been caning Burnout Paradise.

  10. Stew says:

    Racing games on PC need to be playable with keyboard. Not just “there’s some keyboard controls for those idiots who don’t have steering wheels yet”, but full-on “only slightly strange people who fetishize the racing simulation genre own steering wheels, and we want to sell to other people” keyboard controls that work just as well as a wheel for actually playing the damn game.

    Also, more racers need to learn from Burnout. I don’t play Burnout: Revenge to win races against other drivers. That’s not the point. The point is to smash the ever-loving crap out of the other cars whilst traveling at ludicrous speeds. In CoH we have the old “Death is the ultimate debuff”, and racing games should be the same. If you don’t finish, you don’t win. Something like that.

  11. Janek says:

    I definitely agree that you need purpose beyond “beat the generic, faceless opponents” – I actually think this is best exhibited in GTA, which gives you an entirely unambiguous adversarial scenario, i.e. “The fuzz are coming for you – run!” Motives are crystal clear – they’re coming because you ran over a policeman or whatever, so now it’s up to you to escape.

    Alternatively, stuff that YOU decide to do. I remember having great fun with spontaneous races with a group of pirates in the wonky Multi Theft Auto mod for Vice City.

    I am surprised we haven’t seen more variations on the format, mind. GTA, Test Drive Unlimited, and that’s about it, really.

    (What I personally want is some kind of free-roaming law enforcement sim. Sort of like if GTA and the SWAT series had a baby. Roaming a living city, responding to radio reports to maintain public order. Oh God yes.)

  12. Kieron Gillen says:

    Essell: If you’re going to go as far back to Wipeout, there’s some UK people who do okay in there. The early and latest Burnouts are up with anything. GTA is primarily a driving game – and Driver certainly was. The Metropolis Street Racer/Project Gotham broke its own ground.


  13. BrokenSymmetry says:

    I don’t understand this pessimism about racing games at all, as 2007 has been an incredible year for racing games, with 3 great titles in Forza 2, Dirt, and PGR4, all of which I have enjoyed a great deal, and all of which (maybe with the exception of PGR4) have sold above expectations.

    One thing that Bizarre and Codemasters need to learn is the importance of building a community around their racing game. Where Forza 2 and Trackmania have very strong online communities, with dedicated community managers, PGR4 and DiRT have no online community to speak of (pgrnations.com seemed promising at the start, but has received no visible support from Bizarre or Microsoft). Community!

  14. Rook says:

    There needs to be some sort of law against playing racing games on the keyboard.

    (what was wrong with the TDU port on the PC? I really enjoyed it and didn’t notice any problems)

  15. Cigol says:

    On the PC the racing genre is dominated by older games that still have legs and active modding communities – just check out RaceSimCentral (link to forum.rscnet.org) for a pretty large list.

    For me Richard Burns Rally is still the king. It’s frikking exhilarating once you’ve got the hang of it’s steep learning curve and hook up a Logitech G25/Momo. There’s nothing like it.

  16. Radiant says:

    Project Gotham, Colin McRae, Motorstorm and Sega Racing.

    4 of the biggest problems with racers becoming ‘niche’.

    None of the above games are enjoyable to anyone but the most hardened racer fan boy [wheel and pedals and all].
    I hated pgr, all of them, they were so painful to play.

    The middle set of burnouts completely lost their purpose going from balls out arcade racers to something where you are rewarded for FAILING [ie crashing into other cars].

    Unfortunately for racers the best of breeds are on a niche console: the PSP.

    Pick up Wipeout Pulse and Ridge Racers [the first one] for the very best pick up and play racers available on any format.

    Also if you have RidgeRacers on the psp see if you can beat my 3 second lap time [on the first course using any one of the first 3 default cars available].


  17. Cigol says:

    @Radiant: It’s interesting you should say that because in my experience the ‘hardened racer fan boy’ doesn’t prefer any of those games mentioned over more brutal simulations.

  18. Tak says:

    Maybe is my crazy backwards thinking, but I can’t see how anyone would consider a keyboard a good input device for a racing game. Racing in 3d takes more precise control than is offered by ‘left on/off’ and ‘right on/off’ provided by a keyboard.

    I’m not saying everyone needs a full ACTLabs setup or anything, but is 20 bucks for a gamepad with an analog stick too much to be expected? I’m not saying that in a mocking tone or anything, I think it’s an important question.

    You can only get so much out of a keystroke. It’s either happening, or it isn’t. It would seem that designing a racing game around such commands would be a return to Excitebike. Nothing wrong with that type of game, love ’em myself, but it definately doesn’t seem to be the future of racing.

    EDIT: and to the best of my knowledge, I agree with Cigol about the hard-core race simmers (the kind with a mock up of their favorite car’s cab to house their 600 bucks worth of input devices)

  19. Cigol says:

    You can play a lot of the games with the keyboard if you set it up right (they use digital curves) – but it’s not as easy, enjoyable or immersing.

  20. Roosterfeet says:

    Hey, flightsims aren’t dead yet. Well, mostly dead, but not quite extinct. They’re sort of like coelacanths. Any way, check out this latest “Wings Over X” sequal from indie developer Thirdwire. Available online only and a lot more polished than previous titles in the series. A fine fly if you’re one of the four people left who own joysticks.

    link to thirdwire.com

  21. Radiant says:

    @Cigol which is sort of my point.
    The GTR2 player downloading the telemetry specs for a Ferrari and the Top Gear track are not going to look at any of those games but neither would someone who likes to play arcade racers,from which sega rally fell from grace, like myself.

    They’re [these 4 games] in a no-mans land.

    I’d love love love to play Ridge Racers with ‘real’ cars that behaved to their own set of rules [Boxsters fast but skiddy, DB9s that are rocket fast but can’t corner well etc].

    Actually that brand attachment is something that Wipeout gets sooo well and Ridge Racers doesn’t.
    You really feel affinity to a Wipeout race team [Ikaris 4 lyfe!].

    If an out and out arcade racer brought that across with real cars I’d cry with joy.

  22. Zeno, Internetographer says:

    I’m gonna go ahead and be “that guy” and say that almost all racers are the same, and I don’t really care if they fade into obscurity.

    Seriously, they tweak the physics a bit (gotta get that friction coefficient down to the thirteenth decimal place or the fanboys will freak), make everything shinier, and suddenly it’s a new game.

  23. Fat Zombie says:

    Well, speaking of racers, I recently became interested in some racing game called Grand Prix Legends that looks quite nice. Does anyone know:

    1. Where it could be purchased?

    2. Whether it can be played well with a keyboard? (This one is important, as a wheel I do not have and wouldn’t think of purchasing, especially since I don’t tend to play racing games that much)

  24. Stew says:


    The problem with a gamepad, even one costing but twenty of your Yanqui pesos, is a lack of applicability.

    If I have the gamepad, I have it for one racing game. Big whoop. I have a gorgeous keyboard–I’m a writer and programmer by trade. But I don’t just use that keyboard when I’m in vi. I also use that keyboard to play FPS, TPS, RPGs, Strategy… along with my mouse, I can use it to control everything that I do on my computer.

    Show me (and by expansion, the gamer midcore) the advantages in owning a gamepad and giving up a valuable USB port over and above using it in a racing game, else we ain’t going to use it. Because we’ve already got the world’s best set of inputs right on our desks, in the keyboard and mouse.

    The problem of a gamepad is simple: Extra hardware requires justification beyond a single software title. Or beyond a related group, of which a casual or midcore gamer isn’t going to own more than a couple.

  25. Cigol says:

    @Fat Zombie: You’ll want to check out this forum link to forum.racesimcentral.com

    And their FAQ thread (link to mastertronic.com) states £5 but with free delivery that sounds fine.

    I’m not sure about using a keyboard to be honest, but given it’s an old game it will probably have been built with keyboards in mind (in fact did wheels exist back then? I think it may have been a game for joysticks?)

    If you enjoy GPL you’ll definitely enjoy other games of that ilk though, so an investment in a wheel is a good idea – and you should be able to get a cheap Logitech Momo off ebay.

  26. Tak says:

    You may still be able to pick it up from Sold Out Software, or somewhere on Amazon. I’ll have to look if it’ll work on keyboard controls when I get home.

    If you do buy, I recommend getting the updated 2004 demo from Blackhole Motorsports (just Google something like BHM gpl demo), as the original from the disc lacks all the updated textures/models/etc. from the community updated demo, and frankly looks like arse. The demo is the full game but with only one track, so buy the game, install the demo, and then copy the track list from the game disc to the demo tracks folder.

  27. Cigol says:


    These days you can hook up your console controllers to the PC so it’s becoming a moot point. There are some games I couldn’t imagine playing without an analogue controller, on the other hand there are some games that benefit from the keyboard/mouse combo – it’s horses for courses.

  28. Fat Zombie says:

    Well, I found that 2004 demo. Installed it and, since it said stuff about joysticks, plugged my Sidewinder in. You’re right, it does feel right playing with a joystick. I spun out – a lot – but it was entertaining.

  29. Matu says:

    Am… I really the only one who remembers Deathtrack? Forget Death Track Racing from 2000, I’m talking about the game from 89. It wasn’t so much about the racing as it was about blowing other cars up. Apparently some Russians are making a sequel that’s coming out this year. It looks interesting, with decent graphics and all that, but I don’t think it will be the same, nor will it be a huge commercial success. It looks as though there will be a strong emphasis on racing, more so than on the weapons. Additionally, it would probably have worked much better on an Xbox. But we’ll see. The demo (in Russian! Anyone wanting this bad enough to try to overlook it? I know I do!) was apparently released two days ago, I will report back here when I have tested it. If they can pull this off, it could be just what is needed for the racing genre: absolute unrealism and huge particle weapons!

    The old game (FFS, It’s older than I am) is as enjoyable today as any NFS game, if not more so. You need to use Dosbox or something similar and you need to be a very serious geek to overlook the graphics. This was the game that brought attachable parts to the racing genre. I have no idea how it did commercially though. For a quick reminder go to link to serv.net

  30. Dave says:

    I don’t do PC racing games… but count me as another who bought a PS2 just to play Gran Turismo 3.

  31. Rook says:

    Show me (and by expansion, the gamer midcore) the advantages in owning a gamepad and giving up a valuable USB port over and above using it in a racing game, else we ain’t going to use it. Because we’ve already got the world’s best set of inputs right on our desks, in the keyboard and mouse.

    Giving up a valuable USB port? What’s it like living in 1997? If you add up the fact that some games are just better (audiosurf) when you’ve got rumble as well as look at the multitude of Console ports coming to the PC (geometry wars, assassins creed, devil may cry 4 etc) an X360 controller sees a lot of use. Pretending that the Keyboard and Mouse is the ultimate input device is just silly.

  32. Matu says:

    Oh bollocks, don’t bother with the demo. It seems to need a Russian version of Windows (Vindowsky?).

  33. Nick says:

    you could try messing with the regional settings temporarily.. if you were so inclined.

  34. Thiefsie says:

    Interesting article, most pertinent fact to me is the admission that structure to racing games has barely changed over many many years… apart from maybe TDU. I love Forza, enjoy dirt’s visceral thrill, and the immersion and cool of PGR can not be beaten. NFS on the other hand has been dead for years, and GT bores the pants off of me. Burnout I can’t play with my steering wheel – it just feels wrong! But it is awesome fun, and probably the most accessible game out there – any idiot can enjoy crashing stuff up with little knowledge of apex or camber or throttle technique.

  35. cHeal says:


    I had some big problem after about 10 hours where it began to constantly crash. This was post patch and I went onto their site and there were threads and threads of complaints. Turns out the performance was atrocious for some people, like unplayable on lowest settings. And the problem I experienced was also very common, and after a day of looking for a solution I found that there was a file in the user profile (a database of sorts) which could get to big, muddled and basically cause constant crashing. Solution was to just delete it but it was pretty hard to find, hidden away as a system file. But yeah I’m having no problems now with it on Vista. Absolutely love the game, being playing it loads in the last week, it’s awesome with the G25 and H shifter. Trying with the clutch now. Doesn’t work to well while seated on a wheely chair :)

    @Fat Zombie,

    Hey, ah GPL would be pretty hard to come by these days but if you’re only just getting into racing then I wouldn’t touch it. That game can be soul destroying and infinitely rewarding in equal measure. If you really want to then try the GPL 2004 demo instead of the full game, it’s free and more likely to wqrk on a new system. I’d probably recommend GP4 over GPL, it’s a bit more arcadey but still very challenging, then maybe GTL or GTR2 and for rallying RBR is the be all and end all.

    On the Keyboard issue, I always use the A Z configuration from GP2 for all racing games and it works pretty damn well, served me very well for 10 odd years, and even got it working really really well with RBR, where completing a stage without crashing is a challenge in itself.

  36. devlocke says:

    I’m not a big racing fan, but just to touch on the whole keyboard/mouse vs. joystick thing, there are some situations where you just can’t beat a joystick.

    Examples? I played TES: Arena, Daggerfall, and Morrowind with a mouse just fine, but playing Oblivion I felt like a console-style double-analog controller would have been much better in combat. I just finished playing Psychonauts via GameTap in December, and there were a couple of times I was DYING for console-style joystick action in there.

    I just started a project trying to review every game offered on Ubuntu’s default package-servers, and in the first 60 or so, I’ve had a handful of games that were totally uncontrollable and/or broken trying to play with the keyboard, but played fine with my joypad. I think that’s probably due to the fact that the programmers just didn’t care about keyboard support because THEY had a joystick, but it was still a fact that those games were vastly improved by having a joystick.

    For FPS, and anything with a multitude of options, I don’t think you can beat the mouse keyboard combo, but there ARE a lot of games that the analog joysticks are just much more suited to; mostly actiony platformer stuff, I suspect, and if you don’t play a lot of those, then it’s a wasted investment.

    But they’re cheap, and USB ports are plentiful; an investment of 15 dollars American (what does a joystick run in the UK?) to really enjoy a game isn’t what I’d call excessive. And if it makes one game you enjoy better, odds are it will do the same to others.

    I can’t see anyone that wasn’t hardcore into racing sims owning a steering-wheel, though. It just seems like overkill, since they’re usually much more expensive than joysticks, and have a much more limited collection of games they’re suitable for. Joysticks always worked fine for me w/ racing games, though I haven’t played one on the PC since NFS: Hot Pursuit. And the keyboard was fine for that. :)

  37. TreeFrog says:

    A few years ago I bought a wheel that had connectors for PS2 and Xbox. Used it about three times, as the racing games I played on those platforms were mostly arcadey, and were actually easier to control with a joypad.

  38. Fat Zombie says:


    GP2? I’ll look it up. Thing is, I want to stay away from modern F1 racing as much as possible, it does nothing for me. GPL is a start, it’s set in the 50s-60s.

    But what I’d really want is some sort of racer that tackles the races from the first few decades of the 20th century; the Open-wheel racers from the 1910s and 1920s. Any ideas of whether something like that exists?

  39. Optimaximal says:

    An open-world Rallying Sim would be great, where you have to travel between stages on the event over open roads… If you’re late, you get penalised/disqualified!

    Even better, if you speed in Wales and blitz a speed camera, you get fined/banned :)

    But what I’d really want is some sort of racer that tackles the races from the first few decades of the 20th century; the Open-wheel racers from the 1910s and 1920s. Any ideas of whether something like that exists?

    Microprose did a sim called ‘Spirit of Speed 1937’ which dealt with the big car racing that took place pre-WWII.

    link to f1gamers.com

  40. Cigol says:

    In fact I find a game like NFS is even easier using the keyboard. I suppose part of the problem is that wheels are still a luxury item, and one that doesn’t get much use unless you play online or are a racing game fan.

    @Fat Zombie; there are many different mods for the newer titles like rFactor which will deal with what you want. I’m just throwing rFactor in as one suggestion (check out that forum link I gave you before and you’ll have some idea of how many games & mods there are).

    Here’s a link to 1955 F1 on rFactor; link to rfactorcentral.com F1

    Check the HOF links for other recommended mods.

  41. Essell says:

    Kieron: Excuse my ignorance – I was under the assumption that Burnout was an American thing! Was hugely misled by the excessive EA-ness of it all. My bad.

  42. Fat Zombie says:

    @Cigol and Optimaximal:

    Thanks, those look quite interesting. Someone needs to do a modern version, though; like Spirit of Speed, but shinier and with a wider range.

    Hell, I’m surprised that there aren’t any arcadey-type games in that setting, it’s certainly exciting and dramatic enough.

    *imagines a Flatout-ish game, but set in 1937*


  43. Matu says:

    Nick: nah, sadly it’s missing some dll’s.

  44. derFeef says:

    I have to say I own a Xbox 360 just fpr project gotham racing 4 and forza 2. Forza 2 is a wonderful game, so much cars and so much possibilitys and it controls so sweet with the controller or the racing wheel. I often wish that someones makes such games for the PC.

    And please, retire Need for Speed.

  45. Nallen says:

    Releasing it also for the one platform that lacks exactly that sub-genre might help.

    I never understood why noone tried to make something like PGR or GT for the PC. We get the good, but somewhat sterile Simbin games and similar suff (rfactor, Live for Speed), and the EA fare and its clones.

    I bought a PS2 basically to be able to play GT3 at the time.

    I think we’re getting that with Race Driver: GRID

  46. jou says:

    Race 07. the best simulator available on steam, try it.

  47. X7z says:

    A sub-genre that i’ve only saw once is the off-road trial sim, as in the likes of Screamer 4×4
    Racing and free-roam in one!

  48. Tak says:


    Don’t make us declare independence again, mocking our nowabsolutelyworthlessthankstoalongstringofeventsthatin knowwayfitthediscussionathandbutstillmakeforafunbitofmockingbanter-dollars!

    I understand your point, and can agree with it for a minority of cases (extremely casual gamers), but for the core gaming audience, I disagree that the gamepad will only have usability for one title. The mouse and keyboard is indeed superior for 3d FPS, RPG, RTS, and dugneon-crawly games(are they still even adventure games anymore or just bag-filling simulators?), but any game that attempts to simulate a range of motion benefits from analog control over digital (granted, try as I might to think of it, that limits the scope to ‘x-ing’ sims).

    Even the mighty FPS (keyboard/mouse king of gaming) realizes this, and gives the ‘gun arm’ control to the mouse, which allows more precision and better response time than using the numpad or arrow keys.

    **EDIT: I see Cigol addressed this same bit earlier, sorry about the repeat**And while I understand that adding cost limits accessability, consider the average core gamer is likely to have a console system already, and presumably they enjoy that controler. A converter dongle to USB further reduces the expense, and eliminates the need to adapt to a new input device that will only be used for a single purpose.

    In all honesty, I feel that for all but the most casual of gamers (the 10-20 dollar game from Wal-Mart market), the argument against a gamepad (or wheel, any kind of analog device) being assumed in developement are no longer relevent. Fifteen or even ten years ago, I would have agreed with you completely. I just don’t think that those arguments apply for the core-gamer market today.

  49. cHeal says:

    @Fat Zombie, Grand Prix 2 is a very very old game, circa ’96, but it has the az key config, doubtful it would work on your PC (well the sound almost definately wouldn’t) and it looks pretty horrible now. It’s sequels aren’t as good for their time but overall are still superb. GT Legends might interest you, but be warned it has Starforce. I also think there might have been a 30’s 40’s racing game, a couple of years after GPL, forget the name, racing legends or something, but I’m couldn’t tell you if it was any good.

    I’d probably recommend getting rFactor and using mods, there are lots, even some early 90’s F1 and I think there is a mid 70’s one as well. There are loads anyways so you’d probably find something to your liking. If your looking for drifty game play then get Richard Burns Rally, it’s not old and it’s not circuit but it requires a lot of practise and work.

    I’d actually use a keyboard anyday over a joypad, especially since some games force you to use the bloody analog sticks which are quite possibly the most inaccurate method to control a car at high speeds. Whenever I play things like GT or PGR I always avoid the analog sticks if I can, waste of time for driving.